This week we welcome our first guest contributor, Shelley. Shelley is following the theme of the blog and this article focuses on her journey with anxiety and crochet.
You can find Shelley on Instagram here.
Image pattern credit: Bubs And Bear Crochet
When I found out I was pregnant with my second baby, Oakley was only 10months old (I’d only done one half term back at work since having him!) and I was genuinely terrified of telling work that I was expecting again. I was already struggling with the many changes that had happened at work since I’d gone on maternity leave the first time and I found that I started to get very anxious about going back into work. I’d spend each evening worrying about the next day, I couldn’t switch off and it was preventing me from sleeping.
I started to get intrusive thoughts about Oakley dying in his sleep. I’m not sure where these thoughts originated from but they were so strong. Every time I walked past his bedroom I’d have to go in and make sure he was still breathing. I would get up in the night to go and check on him and I started finding it difficult leaving him with my Mum whilst I was at work. I’d get some respite at the weekend but once Sunday evening rolled around my anxiety became crippling once again.
Crochet, my hero!
It was the psychologist that I was referred to by the peri-natal mental health team that encouraged me to try using my love of crochet to help combat my anxiety. So this is what I did at the weekends.
I’d get my hook and yarn out early in the morning whilst Oakley and my husband slept in. I’d crochet in the car if we went out and in the evenings I’d work away as my husband and I watched a box set. I think it was the repetitiveness of crocheting that helped me to unwind. I could switch my mind off as I counted stitches and followed patterns. I felt joy as I watched my projects grow and a sense of achievement as I completed them.
I started my Instagram page and that’s honestly been one of the best things I have done. To begin with, I was so fearful of criticism but instead I have found a wonderful community of makers, who offer lots of inspiration, support and encouragement. I have appreciated all of the conversations surrounding mental health that have been happening in the community recently and it’s comforting to know that there are so many people out there who can relate and who are open about their own experiences with anxiety and other mental health issues.
Since Bramley’s birth I have been sure to continue making crochet a daily practice, even if it is just five minutes making a quick granny square, it is my ‘me-time’ and it is a priority.
I am a priority.
There have been moments, and I’m sure there will be more in the future, when I have had episodes of anxiety that have made it impossible for me to leave the house (mum and baby groups are real triggers for me) but I now know what helps me to feel better and I use those tools as needed.
Crochet is my therapy. It helps me to be mindful, eases my worries and allows me to feel like I am achieving something even on the most rubbish of days when I’ve not even managed to get dressed properly.
Thank you to Shelley for sharing her story! Keep a look out on the blog for more posts by Shelley and our other guest contributors. If you’d like to contribute then please email firstname.lastname@example.org
It’s so important to discuss mental health in our community and we’re grateful for those of you that do! We’d love to hear your thoughts and stories in the comments below.